travel blogger

#44 – Visit the Louvre

‘What’s the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre?
I went through that place in 20 minutes’
– Peter Falk

Growing up, the Louvre if often fantasised about as one of the “must-sees” for any trip into Paris – especially for art lovers of all backgrounds. The diversity of styles, and the eras that are represented are well documented, as is the vast underground and overground space that it consumes.

Although I had been to Paris previously, the opportunity to visit the Louvre always escaped me, which I found rather irksome. So, when I went to visit my friend Heather in October 2016, getting to the Louvre was a top priority which – thankfully – she was in agreement with me on. (more…)

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Callum’s 2017 Adventures: Great Ocean Road & Grampians 2D1N Tour pt.1

If you have come looking for an article that will given you an in-depth and detailed travel guide to both the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians National Park then I apologise, because you are sorely mistaken. However, if you have come looking for a little information about possible places/landmarks to visit (and some kick-ass photos to boot) then continue reading about my recent journey, courtesy of Wildlife Tours Australia.

Although I left the UK to travel, I came to Aus on a working holiday visa, so I could to top up my bank account and earn some money to help fund future travel plans. However, working full-time can be quite a bore, so you do need to do things to stop you falling into a rut. Fortunately my job allows me every second weekend off and, since I am living in Melbourne, I decided to use those weekends to try and get myself completing some of recommended activities for the area. One of these happened to be the Great Ocean Road, something that I wasn’t quite able to do on my previous visit back in 2015. As the whole weekend was free, I thought I’d splash out and go for the tour that included a visit to the Grampians as well.

The Great Ocean Road officially starts in Torquay, but if effectively takes you from Melbourne to Adelaide (or vice versa). It is known as one of the worlds greatest scenic drives, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because, well, you spend the entire time with the ocean on one side of you. (more…)

#25 – Go White Water Rafting

‘Rivers know this: there is no hurry.
We shall get there some day’
– A.A. Milne

Picture this: you’re in the front left-hand seat of a yellow raft with four other people, one of whom is your “guide”. After a few paddle strokes, you get called to stop. The current takes you to the edge of the river. Below you is a 7m drop, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. You get called to assume the position, feet tucked under the front of the raft, paddle gripped tightly, head bowed down into your chest. You steal one last glance as the raft begins to tip over the edge and it’s 3… 2… 1… (more…)

#22 – Climb Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), New Zealand

‘And as the captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor,
it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud,
there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable,
lightning-crowned, filling all the sky’
– J.R.R. Tolkein

An optional ascent on the Tongariro Crossing, Mt Ngauruhoe really is the pinnacle of this little excursion. Snow at the peak all year round, an incline that leaves you scrambling on all fours, ground that breaks away at every step, an active volcano, and the chance of death – quite literally. What’s not to love?

It’s not even that big. An additional 600m climb, allegedly. But it takes between 2-3hrs and is not recommended for those who struggled with the Devil’s Staircase or are physically unfit. Several of us from the Kiwi Experience group set off up the mountain together and we all made it to the top at varying times, although we did get slightly *very* separated on the way down.

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#21 – Walk the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

‘In autumn 2000, Tongariro National Park was home to the most sinister
of the Lord of the Rings locations, Mordor,
which is the strong hold of the dark Lord Sauron’ – 
Tongariro Crossing Official Page

I’ll be perfectly honest, when I first made the decision to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I had no idea of its connection to LotR. I mean yeah, I love the series, but I don’t intentionally set out to visit each filming location (I promise!). Still, to say I have hiked through Mordor is pretty damn cool.

Anyway, the reason I actually decided to do the crossing was to challenge myself. When I was still back at school I was able to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from Bronze through to Gold, but had really fallen off the wagon since then. So I thought, what better than to try and complete a 19.4km hike through volcanic terrain approaching the peak of the southern hemisphere’s summer?

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#16 – Ride a Horse

Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going – Werner Erhard

It might seem an unusual one, having this particular element on my bucket list. But the story behind it should help it makes sense. I mean, I was just a little kid when I was thrown from the back of a small horse, which began an ever-lingering distrust of these majestic creatures.

Yes, majestic. Because that is what they are. Absolutely beautiful animals are horses, and I always find myself admiring them from afar. Up close is a different story altogether, my natural instinct being to back away. Still, I was determined to over-come this and, whilst on Magnetic Island in October 2015, I put myself into a position to ensure I would.

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#15 – Bungy Jump

‘Jump and you will find out how
to unfold your wings as you fall’ 
– Ray Bradbury

Ah, bungy jumping. You’re a special one aren’t you? Me and bungy jumping, we have a special thing going on these days. It’s love. It really is. To date I have completed the following bungy jumps:

And the plan is to, at some point, complete these ones too:

  • Last Resort Bridge, Nepal – 160m/524ft
  • Vidraru Dam, Romania – 166m/545ft
  • Kolnbrein Dam, Austria – 169m/555ft
  • Niouc Bridge, Switzerland – 190m/623ft
  • Europabrucke Bridge, Austria – 192m/629ft
  • Sochi 207, Russia – 207m/679ft
  • Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa – 216m/708ft
  • Contra Dam, Switzerland – 219m/720ft
  • Macau Tower, China – 233m/764ft

I would have the Royal Gorge Bridge bungy in Colorado included in this list, but it is no longer open to the public.

But this post is about my first bungy jump. The Cairns Tower Bungy in 2015.

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#14 – Skydive

If at first you don’t succeed,
then skydiving definitely isn’t for you
– Steven Wright

My first Skydive took place in 2015, over Airlie Beach on the East Coast of Australia with Skydive Airlie Beach. Since then I have also performed a Skydive over Lake Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island.

Skydiving is one of those things that is on nearly every travellers bucket list. Honestly, when you’re backpacking through Australia and New Zealand, it is kind of like a 50/50 split on whether or not the random person you are going to end up sharing a room with in a hostel has skydived or not. And if they haven’t, more often than not they are planning to.

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#13 – Visit Milford Sound, New Zealand

‘It’s actually a fjord’ – pretty much anyone who has been there

Milford Sound. A must-see. If you didn’t go to Milford Sound when you were in New Zealand, did you really go to New Zealand at all?

I went in late 2016 whilst touring with Kiwi Experience, a pretty sweet company who help hapless backpackers (like myself) see all the great bits of New Zealand without the hassle of doing much research before you begin (literally). They provide a great starting point for anyone who wants to stay in New Zealand, but has no idea where to begin – other than in Queenstown because it is party and adrenaline central.

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